There were several developments recently that have put the Twins starting rotation into a state of flux.
Jason Marguis has been gone for an extended period because his daughter fell of her bike and was seriously injured. Apparently he has been pitching with some high school kids to keep his arm in shape, but unless he returns soon its not likely he will be ready to pitch the first week of the season.
Scott Baker was put on the DL today. This is not all that significant, but it guarantees he will not pitch the home opener. Since the Twins have a day off after their first four games, they won't need a fifth starter until the second time through the rotation. Baker will be eligible to come off the DL before then.
Liam Hendricks had another good outing yesterday, giving up one hit in five innings. And today Anthony Swarzak, who is being stretched out to make him available to start, went six innings and gave up only one run. Earlier this week Matt Maloney, also being stretched out, had a solid outing Thursday but only went three innings.
Its likely Nick Blackburn will take Baker's place for the home opener. The need for Hendricks, Swarzak or Maloney to start depends on whether Marquis is ready to pitch a week from tomorrow in the final game of the Baltimore series. If not the Twins will at least need a spot starter for that game. If Marquis is ready, then it won't be until Sunday April 15th that would need a starter if Baker isn't ready by then.
It seemed likely that Hendricks would take the spot start on Sunday the 8th in Baltimore. But Swarzak's outing today might change that. It might depend on how likely it is that Baker and Marsuis are both going to be available the second time through the rotation. As I said wrote inyesterday's post on the bullpen competition, the decision to keep Hendricks on the roster means one less spot for bullpen candidates.